Just looking to relax

There’s not much doubt that travel can sometimes be stressful.

That’s why it’s important to be able to sit back and relax when you have the chance.

One way to do that, I was reminded a few weeks ago, is to take a trip on a train.

It makes the ride a little more interesting, of course, when you’re sitting in a car that’s part of the San Diego Coaster as it makes its way from Carlsbad, Calif., to San Diego.

The route offers some spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean and the beaches and towns that sit along its shore. It’s a trip that takes just a little longer than 45 minutes, but comes with a whole lot less stress than making a similar journey south in a car along Interstate 5, which runs roughly parallel to the train tracks.

It’s easy to just sit back and relax, watching the ocean waves roll into the shore or following surfers who are out for their morning or early evening rituals.

While the trip itself is interesting, what sat at the end of the line was even more fascinating. The train’s south terminus is the Santa Fe station in downtown San Diego. The building, which dates back to 1915, is a pretty impressive site itself.

The building, a great example of the Spanish Colonial Revival style of architecture, sits as a tribute to rail travel and fits in very well with the buildings in its section of the city. The interior is even more impressive -rounded wooden beams help to support the ceiling, plenty of natural light enters through massive windows at either end, with smaller windows along each side. Passengers wait on classic wooden seats.

To me what was even more impressive were the columns next to each doorway that were covered in blue and gold ceramic tiles, each displaying the classic round Santa Fe logo.

Today, the building is no longer a train station – its modern configuration makes it a transportation hub. Commuter trains, Amtrak and the light-rail trolleys that serve the city all stop there, as do buses and taxis. It’s an example of a building that’s been allowed to hold onto its past while being reconfigured to meet the needs of modern society.

It makes for a beautiful way to enter the city – and it comes at the end of what’s an equally beautiful, and very relaxing, ride.

Speaking of taking something vintage and making sure it remains relevant, if you haven’t seen it yet, you really need to read Community Editor Janice Kiaski’s story about the Wild Cherry reunion that begins on Page 1E of today’s edition.

The band, which brought us one of the most-remembered 1970s hits, “Play That Funky Music,” will be getting together for the first time in 36 years when it appears Aug. 10 at the Mingo Junction Knights of Columbus Hall. Their performance will be part of an event that’s been dubbed Hoodstock 2014, which will bring this year’s Mingo Community Days to a close.

Proceeds from the event will benefit the Robert Parissi Scholarship Endowment, which provides scholarships for college-bound graduates of Indian Creek High School who have a career focus in music or the arts.

Parissi and the band enjoyed a great run in the 1970s, and their work has been honored in the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland.

He’s never forgotten his home, though, as the decision to have the band get back together in the neighborhood they used to rehearse in demonstrates.

(Gallabrese, a resident of Steubenville, is executive editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times.)